BHS graduation

Belton High School seniors listen to classmate Sam Foreman’s pre-recorded speech during a 2021 graduation ceremony at Tiger Field.

BELTON — Karina Fisher was among more than 700 Belton High seniors to receive a high school diploma on Thursday, and the 17-year-old credited much of her success to her family.

“I wouldn’t be anywhere if it wasn’t for my parents, my brother or my grandma … my whole family really,” she told the Telegram. “My family is amazing. They’re excited for me and I appreciate them for everything.”

Fisher, who first enrolled into the Belton Independent School District for seventh grade, is now slated to attend Texas Tech where she plans to pursue a degree in kinesiology.

“I hope to become a doctor of some sort later on … probably in physical therapy, because I’ve played sports my whole life and want to stay in that realm,” she said.

But in the meantime, Fisher is simply enjoying her time celebrating with her friends and family.

“It’s so awesome being here with friends,” she said. “Some of these people I know very well and it’s been great seeing them come such a long way. This year was rough at times but we made the best of it.”

Fellow graduate Correan Brown also relished in his success.

“It’s surreal (to graduate) but then again, I’ve earned it,” he said. “I’ve worked hard for this and I’m going to enjoy spending this time with the people I know ... and then it’s on to my new life.”

Like Fisher, Brown said his family is proud of him and thanked them for their guidance along the way.

“There was a point in time where my grades had held me because I wasn’t as disciplined as I should’ve been … but my senior year is when everything clicked,” he said. “My family is proud of me for having stayed focused all year and for focusing on (life) long term.”

Brown — who began his academic career in Belton ISD at Pirtle Elementary — said he will weigh his post-high school career options while he spends this summer working in Alabama with his dad.

“After that, I’m thinking about going into the Army or college,” he said. “I’m more interested in the Army because they teach character … but I’m just going to lay out all of my options and see what I’m more intrigued by.”

Ben Smith, Belton High’s principal, said he was excited for all of the graduating seniors and their families on Thursday.

“We’re just ecstatic that we’re here today celebrating the class of 2021. We’re really proud of these kids,” Smith said. “The resiliency that they showed throughout the school year is something special and something that we’re really proud of.

After Belton High’s senior class received their diplomas, valedictorian Gautam Ghamande congratulated and left them with a message about success.

“Success isn’t measured by wealth, power or fame,” he said. “Success is winning with the cards you’ve been dealt. Whatever your goals are, the first step in achieving them is by believing in yourself and your own abilities. But nobody succeeds alone. Forming relationships is one of the most important foundations of success.”